By Tony Parra
The 25th Annual Festival Romanico enticed 400 to 600 high school students to the campus of Eastern New Mexico University for Spanish-speaking competitions.
The high school students came from eastern New Mexico and west Texas. They competed against each other in artwork, skits, poetry, essays and for the grand finale, a talent show.
The event took place all-day on Friday in different ENMU buildings. Festival Romanico was started 25 years ago as a day dedicated to the romance languages of French and Spanish.
The Bovina High School students took top honors in the overall school category. The students won first place with 43 points, while the Lovington High School students finished with 39 points and Dexter High School students tabulated 19 points. The Portales High School students finished in fourth with 13 points.
The talent show capped off the day’s events in the afternoon with students competing in dance contests and musical instrument competitions.
“It was a rush being up there,” Daniel Perez, a sophomore from Portales High School, said about his dance during the talent show. Perez was wearing a sombrero with a ranchero outfit. “There were a lot of people cheering for us.”
Brenda Ortiz, a senior from Portales High School, was his dancing partner, wearing a bright blue dress for the song, “Song de la Negra”. Perez and Ortiz captured third place in the talent show.
“I was very nervous,” Ortiz said. “I liked watching the people the most from all of the activities.”
Isaac Tavera, a Bovina High School sophomore, said it was only the second year they have participated in the all-day competitions. Tavera said last year Bovina finished second overall in the school standings.
“It was great to come in first place,” Tavera said. “We finished in second place last year by two points.”
The Muleshoe High School girls showed off their talents during a folklorico dance on Friday afternoon in the ENMU ballroom. Muleshoe High seniors Erika Perez, Janice Pacheco, Elizabeth Salamanca shared the floor with their younger Muleshoe High school partners, Sofia Quezada, Beverly Hernandez, Lisa Soto, Jordan Hernandez, Sonia Garcia and Dominique Mata.
The girls said it took a lot of hard work and team work to put together Friday’s performance.
Portales High School juniors Orlando Shelly and Lourdes Gutierrez said it was the biggest crowd they have performed in front of. More than 500 people watched the talent show on Friday.
“I liked all of the performances,” Gutierrez said. “The Festival Romanico was great. It was nice to have so many Hispanics come here and I enjoyed meeting other people.”
David Roman, a Portales High School student, won first place in the artwork posters category. Veronica Duarte of Portales High School finished in second place in the second-year non-native essay contest while Amanda Lujan finished in third place in the second-year category.
Sandra Ortiz, a Bovina High School freshman, danced during the talent show at the end of day and said she was nervous during the dancing. Asked if she would like to come back next season for the Festival Romanico, Ortiz said, “Of course”.